US intelligence chiefs decline to discuss Trump contacts

Sen. Susan Collins R-Maine said she is

In an often contentious hearing on Capitol Hill, two intelligence chiefs testified Wednesday that they've never felt pressured to take improper actions regarding intelligence matters, including the investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers were questioned Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, CNN reports.

King said the next steps in the Senate's Russian Federation investigation include questioning Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior advisor of President Donald Trump; Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort; his longtime confidante, Roger Stone; and attempting to speak with Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser.

Two US intelligence leaders told Congress on Wednesday they were never pressured by the White House, as they were grilled on reports that President Donald Trump urged them to downplay probes into an aide's Russian Federation ties. Specifically, Trump reportedly asked both men to publicly deny that there was evidence showing the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, and Coats was further asked to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation to drop its probe of Michael Flynn.

But the hearing quickly moved to the witnesses' interactions with Trump, after the Washington Post had reported the night before the hearing that Trump asked Coats to convince Comey to end the Russian Federation investigation.

He also said there have been other times where he has seen things reported about "things we had been discussing" that weren't entirely accurate. The situation was so awkward that Comey didn't want to be alone with the president. I don't care how you felt, I'm not asking if you felt pressured, I'm simply asking did that conversation occur?

Four top intelligence officials are fielding questions Wednesday on whether Trump intervened into the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the USA elections, the latest development in a tumultuous 24 hours.

"I do believe it's inappropriate for me to discuss that in an open session".

The chairman off the Senate intelligence committee, GOP.

"The chair is going to exercise its right to allow the witnesses to answer the question, and committee is on notice to provide witnesses the courtesy, which has not been extended all the way across", Burr said.

Moderate drinking can damage the brain
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They also pressed Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on whether he ever discussed with Comey any conversations Trump had with the then-FBI director.

But Winner's alleged leaking of the report is bound to give committee Republicans a stronger foothold to ask questions than the hearing topic or any of Trump's tweets.

"This is not releasing any classified information, but you realize how simple it would be to say, 'No, that never happened?'" Heinrich said. The hearing got heated when Senator Angus King grilled the officials on whether the President tried to influence their work.

"I'm not prepared to answer your question today", said Coats.

"I'm not satisfied with, "I do not believe it is appropriate" or 'I do not feel I should answer", said King.

INSKEEP: So I'm just thinking they answered some of your questions.

"What you feel isn't relevant, admiral", King fired back. "I am willing to come before the committee and tell you what I know and what I don't know".

INSKEEP: OK, so you've already got his written testimony - James Comey's testimony.

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